Energy Department Announces up to $4 Million for Geothermal Deep Direct-Use Feasibility Studies

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced today up to $4 million in funding for six geothermal Deep Direct-Use (DDU) research projects to conduct feasibility studies of large scale, low-temperature deep-well geothermal systems and cascaded surface technologies. These projects will extend the reach of geothermal energy into previously untapped regions of the country: the Appalachian Basin, the Illinois Basin, the Wassuk Range, the Columbia River Basalt Group, the Walker Lake Valley, and the Gulf Coast region of Texas.

DDU is an emerging technology that has been underutilized in the U.S., and if feasible, could deliver direct geothermal energy from lower temperature resources across the U.S. It is expected to use low-temperature, thermal resources in subsurface reservoirs in U.S. regions lacking conventional hydrothermal resources. DDU wells used to directly power buildings would be deeper than ground source heat pump boreholes and shallower than wells used for enhanced geothermal systems used for electricity generation.

At a large scale, DDU applications can potentially be used to replace conventional district heating and cooling systems in military installations, hospital complexes, office buildings, hotels, and other large energy end-uses. For the purpose of this funding opportunity announcement (FOA), large-scale is defined as a space conditioning area greater than 10,000 square feet or having an annual thermal energy demand equal to or greater than 125 million British Thermal Units (MMBTU). The goal is to significantly expand the reach of geothermal energy into geologically distinct parts of the country. Using relatively low-temperature, direct geothermal energy has the potential to diversify the nation’s energy supply and help meet environmental goals.

Research funded under this FOA will evaluate the feasibility of harvesting heat from geothermal brines and using it directly to heat (or cool) buildings, as well as for other beneficial thermal processes. Pairing low-to-medium temperature geothermal fluids with low-to-medium temperature end-uses instead of using higher temperature power generation or fuels with high BTU content to heat and cool various applications with lower energy requirements can result in significant energy conservation gains. Direct-use geothermal applications have the potential to provide cost-effective, renewable thermal energy in large portions of the U.S.

A U.S. Geological Survey assessment estimates that 46,000 Megawatt thermal (MWth) of total beneficial heat is available from geothermal resources below 90°Celsius (~195°Farenheit) in the U.S. DDU promotes large scale, commercially viable systems that optimize the value stream of lower temperature resources through a cascade of uses. 

The research teams selected represent a range of partners who will share the cost of performing the feasibility analysis with DOE. The organizations receiving awards today include:

  • Cornell University: Ithaca, New York
  • National Renewable Energy Laboratory: Golden, Colorado
  • Portland State University: Portland, Oregon
  • Sandia National Laboratories: Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • University of Illinois: Champagne, Illinois
  • West Virginia University Energy Institute: Morgantown, West Virginia

The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) accelerates the research and development of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and market-based solutions that strengthen U.S. energy security, environmental quality, and economic vitality. Visit geothermal.energy.gov to learn more about EERE’s Geothermal Technologies Office, including funding opportunities and efforts to develop innovative technologies capable of locating, accessing, and developing geothermal resources.  

ED in the Field ~ School Visit: Imagine Andrews

It is not every day that ED staff is granted the opportunity to enter into a classroom and observe elementary students engaging in lesson plans and sharing thought-provoking discussions with their classmates. For several ED staff, the opportunity presented itself through the ED in the Field ~ School Visit program.

ED in the Field ~ School Visit

The ED in the Field ~ School Visits have become a staple engagement effort adopted by staff throughout the Department of Education who wish to learn more about the impact of their work through practice and theory. The program is intended to increase interactions among department personnel, school educators, and administrators to better inform decisions made on policy as it relates to real-world impact.

Imagine Andrews Public Charter School, located on Andrews Air Force base in Maryland, was among three school sites ED staff visited on a recent morning. St. Mary’s private school and Ashburton Elementary public school were the others. Led by Principal Howard Douglas Rice II, ED staff participated in classroom observations of kindergarten through eighth grade students, a roundtable discussion with parents from the Parent Teacher Association (PTA), and a discussion with Imagine School administrators.

The Experience

When ED staff looked along the hallway walls and noticed their measures of excellence, it was evident that Imagine Andrews exemplifies an environment that promotes student achievement and fosters educational excellence. During the classroom observation of a kindergarten class for five- and six-year olds, Ms. Cole’s students gathered together on the large alphabet carpet to sing alongside letters of the alphabet as they danced the Heads, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes dance.

In another observation, this time of a science class for 7th– and 8th-grade students, Mr. Green helped students understand gravity and matter. ED staff watched intently as students tested their predictions of the impact volume and weight would have on the time for a ball of paper, tennis ball, and rock to fall to the ground.

Not surprisingly, each group of about four or five students in the class of 23 used the learning activity to also build leadership skills. Members of each group assumed the roles of equipment manager, group leader, recorder, and spokesperson. The classroom observations allowed ED staff to gauge how well the students were learning, and the roundtable discussions gave ED staff profound insight into the groundwork that is required to positively impact the school system.

The Groundwork

The PTA roundtable discussion provided clear indication of the strong parental engagement at Imagine Andrews over the past six years. With a memberships base of 115, the parents work year-round to fundraise, put on special events with the surrounding community, leaders and partners, host social spirit nights, and perform outreach and recruitment efforts to engage families and offer a more innovative learning environment for their children. The school is fortunate to have parents who support it with the necessary resources and quality learning tools needed for the students to thrive.

The school administration recognizes that building a bridge between military families and civilians poses both challenges and benefits. The population is 65% military and 35% civilian, and, since Imagine Andrews is not a zone school, children throughout Prince Georges County have an equal opportunity in the lottery for admission to the school. Although military families rotate in and out of the school every few years, the teacher attrition rate at Imagine Andrews is low.

The overall visit granted ED staff more awareness of the real-world impact of their day to day work.

Shavonney White is a management and program analyst in the Office of Innovation and Improvement.

Continue the conversation on Facebook or Twitter.

Remarks by President Trump, President Moon, Commerce Secretary Ross, and NEC Director Cohn in Bilateral Meeting

Cabinet Room

10:50 A.M. EDT

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Okay, thank you very much.  We have many of our great members, our Vice President, Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense.  We have several of our really wonderful leaders here.  And you have your leaders with you and your representatives.

And we’re going to be discussing two things mostly, and number one would be North Korea, and we pretty much discussed that last night at length.  I think we have a very, very strong, solid plan.  And number two is going to be, of course, trade — because the trade deal is up, and we want to make a deal that’s fair for the United States and fair for South Korea.  So we’ll start doing that.

Gary Cohn is here.  Wilbur Ross is here.  And I think that’s a very important thing.  And, Wilbur, perhaps you’d like to say a few things about trade right now, and we can probably leave the media — because trade is very important — for a little while.  But perhaps you’d say a few words about trade and what we’re looking to do.

SECRETARY ROSS:  Yes, sir.  The trade imbalance with South Korea has doubled since the KORUS treaty was put into effect, and the largest single component of that is automotive trade.  That’s an absolute majority of it.  So there are a lot of non-tariff trade barriers to U.S. exports.  Only 25,000 cars per Big Three manufacturer are allowed in based on U.S. standards.  Anything above that needs to be on Korean standards.

So that kind of rulemaking affects quite a few industries and really restricts the access that U.S. companies have to the Korean market.  

We have a separate problem with oilfield tubular goods and other steel products.  There is no domestic market for oilfield tubular goods in Korea.  So everything they make is for export, and we had recent trade cases demonstrating that a lot of that is dumped Chinese steel coming as hot-rolled coil and then coming back to the U.S. as oilfield tubular goods.  

So there are a lot of very specific problems, and I think the way to address it is to deal product by product with what we can do to change the export side and what we can do to reduce the bad import side.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  All right, thank you very much.  You can stay for this also.  Perhaps Gary Cohn could say a few words also about trade.

MR. COHN:  Yes, thank you, Mr. President.  As you know, much of our biggest problem on trade has to do with our economic relationship with China, and we have maintained a very large trade deficit with China, and it continues to grow.

As Wilbur said, China has many predatory practices in the way they deal with us, with intellectual property and trade barriers for us.  We’re forced to transfer technology into China, forced to have joint ventures in China.  We have tariffs and nontariff barriers; unable to own companies in China, as well.  And we’re dealing with all of their policies.  

At some point we’d be interested to hear how you’re dealing with the Chinese policies and how you can help us in dealing with Chinese policies.  

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Thank you very much.  The fact is that the United States has trade deficits with many, many countries, and we cannot allow that to continue.  And we’ll start with South Korea right now.  But we cannot allow that to continue.  This is really a statement that I make about all trade.  For many, many years, the United States has suffered through massive trade deficits.  That’s why we have $20 trillion in debt.  So we’ll be changing that.

The good news is we’re making great products.  And I appreciate very much they’re giving — South Korea is giving very, very big orders to the United States for — as you know, for military.  They’re buying many F-35 fighter jets from Lockheed, and they’re buying other military equipment at a level that they’ve never reached before.  So that’s good.

Also, I understand you’re dealing with Alaska — great state — on natural gas, and other parts of the United States.  We have a lot of natural gas, so we love that you’re going to do that.

And things like that will bring down the trade deficit substantially.  That’s what we like, and we appreciate it very much.

Mr. President, would you like to say something before the media leaves?

PRESIDENT MOON:  (Speaks Korean.  No translation provided.)

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Okay, we can do that.  And I’m sure that everybody understood that answer.  (Laughter.)  I hope.  But it was a very good answer.  

Thank you all very much.

END  10:56 A.M. EDT  

Wounded Warrior Turns Tragedies Into Inspirations

PORT HUENEME, Calif., June 30, 2017 — Ryan Shannon grew up like most kids from a small town. He played sports and hung out with his friends and siblings. After high school, he did what most kids were expected to do: go to college and earn a degree in a chosen career field. However, one event changed everything.

“I never really thought of the military as an option for me,” Shannon said. “There was a school shooting in Northern Illinois. I lost a buddy. … He got shot saving his girlfriend’s life. It kind of altered my perception of what I was doing.”

The event impacted Shannon so much that he began to reconsider what he was doing with his life, and this eventually led him to the Navy.

“I didn’t really discuss it with anybody,” he said. “Went in [to the recruiter’s office], joined up and 13 days later I was leaving. My parents were kind of caught off-guard. It was definitely the right move.”

Like most new service members, Shannon found boot camp to be an eye-opening experience.

“Being tall was always an advantage my whole life,” he said. “But at boot camp, being tall was absolutely a disadvantage. You’re a target to those [recruit division commanders]. I learned pretty quickly how to follow orders.”

Before leaving boot camp, he was meritoriously promoted. Then he went off to submarine school, where he continued to excel and finished in the top three of his class, allowing him to be one of the first to choose orders.

“I really never had been outside of Illinois at that point,” said Shannon, who was an electronics technician. He thought, “I might as well go somewhere fun, so I choose Hawaii for my first duty station.”

Submariner Family

Soon after reporting to the fast attack sub USS Pasadena, he merged into the submarine community.

“It was a family,” Shannon said. “You kind of just become brothers. It’s a pretty tight-knit group. It’s a submarine: If there is a mistake we’re all going to pay for it.”

When Shannon says his shipmates are family, he means it, as he proved one faithful night.

“I got the phone call from my ‘sea pup,’ who I helped raise and mentor,” Shannon said. “He was like, ‘The [USS] Miami is on fire.’ I was in half my uniform. I grabbed my stuff and started heading toward base. My wife picked me up in the car, and she was eight months pregnant with my son. The last thing my wife said to me that night was, ‘Don’t get in that submarine.’ It was hard to look her in the face and tell her I couldn’t make that promise.”

Once he got to the boat, he realized no one had really taken charge of the situation. So, ignoring the danger from the flames, he stepped up, grabbed some hoses and began directing others to combat the fire. Shannon still recalls the smell of burnt metal, and the heat on his skin from the melting of his uniform. Still, he operated a hose by himself and got water on the fire.

“[After] ten and a half hours, the fire finally went out,” he said. “And I went home. I didn’t know I had a [post-traumatic stress disorder] or anxiety. But my wife started noticing if a fire truck drove by, I was up on my feet looking, making sure they weren’t going to base. It would always stick in my head that maybe they’re heading to base, maybe something happened.”

This was only the beginning in a string of unfortunate events that would eventually force Shannon to medically retire from the Navy.

Accident

Coincidentally, the next injury was during a fire drill.

“I was on the bottom rack,” he remembers. “I rolled out and was bent over putting my boots on. Pure accident, another shipmate came out of the top rack — it’s a fire drill so it’s chaos — came down and I took one of his heels straight to the base of my neck and bounced my head in between my legs. I was unconscious [for a] very little time, nothing too crazy. But, I eventually was diagnosed with mild traumatic brain injury, and lost a lot of memories. I don’t remember my kids being born, but I know I was there.”

To make matters worse, the brain injury made Shannon susceptible to depression. He initially received treatment for it, but after he transferred duty stations, he stopped going to medical. After a year of trying to deal with the ups and downs of depression, he finally decided to go back and started taking medication again.

Then bad luck struck again. While on liberty at the beach almost a year after his brain injury, Shannon broke his foot. Unfortunately, it went misdiagnosed for three months as a simple sprained ankle. The broken bones ended up sawing at everything around his foot. He developed complex regional pain syndrome, which is a type of chronic pain that can occur after an injury. The illness baffles doctors and is difficult to treat.

“Basically, my brain still thinks my foot is still broken to this day,” he explained. “When I do anything with my foot, my brain thinks it’s broken, so it sends pains signals. The problem is the medical community doesn’t know a whole lot about it. They don’t know how to cure it. I’ve done medications. I’ve had injections in my spine to try and help the pain, and I’ve got a spinal cord stimulator implanted in my spine. None of it seems to be working.”

The combination of these injuries and his battle with depression spiraled Shannon into the lowest point of his life. The guilt of not being “normal” and the inability to run around with his kids caused him to push away the most important things in his life.

“My kids are running around and my wife is there, and for some reason I didn’t care,” Shannon said. “I didn’t want my kids to be around. I didn’t want my wife to be around me. And that would only make the depression worse. I started thinking I didn’t want to be like this.”

Hitting Bottom

Shannon found himself in a very dark place, one he had never imagined he would be in. He wanted a way out. The idea of suicide began to creep into his mind.

“My wife pulled me out of that by my hair,” Shannon said. “If it wasn’t for her, I honestly don’t think I’d be here. She said, ‘You need to go talk to somebody or we’re pulling out — me and the boys are gone.’ It was the easiest decision to make: I’m going to go talk to somebody.”

And he did. He reported the situation to his chief, and his chain of command got him the help he needed. However, it wouldn’t be the last time Shannon managed to escape the grips of death.

He had to take a lot of medication, including pain pills for his foot and prescribed medicine for his depression. One night, the mixture of those pills almost cost him his life.

“I remember this night super-clear in my head,” Shannon said. “I still have dreams about it. I took my meds, got real tired, but I was also really cold. I’m living in Hawaii; there’s no reason for me to be shivering. I lay down, and within 30 seconds, I got super-hot to where I was sweating and started getting dizzy. So, I got up. I really couldn’t see much; I was hitting the walls. My wife grabbed me and led me to the bathroom because I thought I was going to vomit.

“She went to get me a bottle of water. When she came back, I was on the ground. She said my body was trying to restart itself. I just remember everything going black, and kind of being able to hear my wife. It’s so weird trying to describe what happened that night. Something in me was like, ‘Alright, you could stay asleep or you can wake up.’ The first thing I thought of was my wife and kids. I needed to wake up. As soon as I made that decision, I woke up. And she was standing there, like a champion — like a hero — on the phone with the paramedics. No tears, calm. Doing what she needed to.”

Shift in Perspective

At the hospital, doctors told him his heart had stopped beating for 30 seconds and his wife revived him by beating on his chest. When Shannon found this out, his perspective on life shifted.

“There’s no reason I should be mad when I’m in a traffic jam or when the smallest things go wrong,” Shannon said. “In my mind, technically I shouldn’t even be here.”

Not taking life for granted has led Shannon to where he is today. Unable to continue in the Navy, he longed to regain the camaraderie of shipmates. When he found out about the Navy’s Wounded Warrior team, it was a perfect fit.

“We all feel normal around each other,” he said. “I don’t have to worry about not being able to do this because I have this injury. There is always somebody here that understands it. I made some of my best friends on this team. It’s very much like the submarine community, where I could depend on anybody. I can reach out to anybody on this team and they’re going to listen; they’re going to help.”

Doctors had told Shannon that he would never run again — devastating news for a former college track and field star. During his first Wounded Warrior Games, however, he proved those doctors wrong — very wrong.

“Right now, I hold the record for the 400- and 800-[meter runs] in my category,” Shannon said. “I went home last year with two gold and two silver [medals]. I’m defending those records this year, so I hope to set the bar a little higher.”

On top of running, he also plans to participate in sitting volleyball and swimming at the 2017 Department of Defense Warrior Games, which are being held in Chicago from June 30-July 8.

He leaves other injured service members with one piece of advice.

“There’s no reason why your injury needs to define you as a person,” Shannon said. “I’m 29 with a handicap placard, but that doesn’t have to define me. I’m not going to let my injuries define me. I’ll define myself.”

Service Dogs Get Paws-On Training

HUNTER ARMY AIRFIELD, Ga., June 30, 2017 — We all know the saying, “Dogs are man’s best friend.” They become a part of the family and share in every aspect of the household from holidays to birthdays and even graduations.

On June 26, the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade here hosted a walk-through for a special group of dogs in training to become service dogs for veterans with post-traumatic stress and the visually impaired.

“Southeastern Guide Dogs transforms lives by creating and nurturing extraordinary partnerships between people and dogs,” said Kerstin Ramus, from Southeastern Guide Dogs. The national organization employs the latest in canine development and behavior research to train dogs of the highest pedigree for people who are blind and for veterans, she said.

Puppies perched their paws on a variety of pilot gear to become familiar with equipment they may encounter as a service dog for an active-duty service member or veteran.

“We are giving them an opportunity to make positive association with every day, normal life situations, which is the reason why we are meeting at Hunter today — we do provide veterans with psychiatric service animals,” Ramus said. “We provide service animals to people who can’t see or have seen too much. Some of our [clients] are still on active duty, so the dog very well may be asked to work in this environment.”

Army Chief Warrant Officer 4 Chris Hellums, assigned to Bravo Company, 603rd Aviation Support Battalion, his son, Gabriel, and daughter, Aliciona, each care for puppies preparing to become service dog candidates.

“About a year-and-a-half ago, my daughter Aliciona expressed some interest with raising a service dog puppy,” Hellums said. “So we went through the application process, met Kerstin, [were] approved and got Cinnamon, who graduated today.”

Training Process

From birth until about age 2, Cinnamon, like the other dogs in training, went through an education that included socialization skills, basic obedience and house manners. During this period, the dogs’ unique aptitudes and abilities become clear, Ramus said, and dogs pursue a “major” based on their personality, health, temperament, trainability and suitability for specific careers.

A majority of the dogs in training pursue a path toward becoming a guide dog, service dog, facility therapy dog or a gifted canine, — a dog that is hand-selected to serve in law enforcement, provide emotional support to veterans with disabilities, or support a Gold Star Family, she added.

Kyle is a black Labrador who was selected as an ambassador dog for Southeastern Guide Dogs and is now paired with Hellums as he goes through the medical discharge process.

“Kyle was the first official dog I raised on my own,” said Christel-Ann Ramus, a volunteer with Southeastern Guide Dogs. “I learned of the responsibility that comes with raising a guide dog, which means getting up in the morning 20 minutes earlier. I got to experience the challenges of everyday life plus the dog, and it’s a humbling experience.”

People can raise money to name a Southeastern Guide Dog puppy in honor of a loved one.

“I will be getting my third official dog in July,” Christel-Ann Ramus said. “My best friend in high school, Allie Laungh, a nursing major at Georgia Southern University, unfortunately died in a car crash a few years back. She was an organ donor, so parts of her live in others but nobody gets to call her name anymore. I started raising the money two years ago and now I raised enough, so the puppy that I will be raising will be named Laungh, her last name in honor of her. So that somebody will get to call her name as people get to live with parts of her.”

Chris Kyle’s family also raised money to name two dogs in his honor, she explained. His family has a puppy that helps them with the loss of the former Navy SEAL.

Kyle, the black Lab paired with Hellums, is named in Chris Kyle’s honor.

“Kyle couldn’t be a full-time service dog because of a possible injury,” Hellums said. “So he was returned back to the area to become the ambassador dog for Southeastern Guide Dogs. Since I am medically retiring he is going to hang out with me, and we’re going to continue to work with together to get through our medical issues as I transition out of the Army.”

Face of Defense: Airman's Commitment to Service Runs in the Family

EASTOVER, S.C., June 30, 2017 — “Service to others is what makes this country great,” said Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Edward Snyder, the public affairs superintendent for the South Carolina Air National Guard’s 169th Fighter Wing at McEntire Joint National Guard Base here. His 31 years of service is a testament to his commitment to serve his country.

Snyder enlisted in 1985 and spent four years on active duty. He then served six years with the Air Force Reserve and deployed several times, including in support of operations Just Cause, Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

Snyder joined the South Carolina Air National Guard in 1994.

“I always wanted to join the military; I just did not know why. I wanted to do something different and I wanted to serve,” he said.

A commitment to service is a family tradition. Snyder’s wife, Michelle, serves as an elementary school teacher and supports a number of projects as a church volunteer. His daughter, Ashley, is a surgical technician. She has been a patient care provider since graduating high school in 2008, and said she feels privileged to take care of people in their time of medical need. Snyder’s son, Michael, joined the South Carolina Army National Guard upon graduating from high school in 2010 and completed the UH-60 Black Hawk pilot training program in August 2016.

Community Service

“I think it’s important for every American to serve in one capacity or another, whether as a public servant, first responder, medical professional or serving your community through church and volunteer programs,” Snyder said.

Serving the community is more than just an act of kindness in the Snyder family; it’s their way of life and a responsibility they continue to fulfill each and every day.

“I am so very proud of my family and the sacrifices they make to support me during my years of military service,” Snyder said. “It’s even more humbling to me to see them recognize their individual callings to serve and to watch them do so unselfishly.”

In 1991, three months into a deployment, Snyder got the call that he was going to be a father again.

“Michael was a surprise baby,” he added.

Little did he know his son would grow up to follow in his footsteps. Growing up, Snyder would tell his children that while they may not decide to join the military, they will serve others in some way.

Inspiration

“I always wanted to serve, which came from my father. Dad’s tough love molded me for the military and made the transition easier,” said Army 2nd Lt. Michael Snyder, an UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter pilot for the South Carolina Army National Guard’s Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 111th Aviation Regiment.

Snyder would take his son on trips to McEntire Joint National Guard Base in Eastover, where he would learn about the fighter jets. Snyder didn’t push the Air Force on Michael, but he knew his son wanted to be a pilot. Michael elected to pursue becoming a UH-60 Black Hawk pilot.

“I knew that I wanted to be a pilot, and my father encouraged me to join the National Guard. They helped me pay for some of my college at the Citadel and led me to become a pilot,” Michael said.

Now that Michael has qualified as a Black Hawk pilot, he said he has a deeper understanding of the work his father has done over the years.

“Serving made my little boy into a man and do something I could never do myself; [learn] how to fly helicopters,” Snyder said.

They may not be in the same branch or career field but they both understand the work that goes into their jobs and occasionally grab lunch together at McEntire.

“We now bond on another level because of the work we do in the National Guard,” Michael said.